9 Things to Look for During a College VisitJune 15, 2022
Scheduling college tours is exciting. These tours can help you understand what it’s really like to be on campus. Visiting different schools may also help you narrow down your options and choose your favorite. But first, it’s essential to know what to look for when visiting colleges. We’ve pulled together this college visit checklist to reference as you’re doing campus tours.
If you’re going to live on campus, it’s important to check out the dorms. Also, keep in mind that the dorm you see might differ from the one you’ll live in. Ask the admissions team if it’s possible to see a first-year student dorm on your tour. If it isn’t, have them describe what to expect. Here are a few potential questions to ask and things to consider:
- How big are the rooms?
- How many roommates will you have?
- Are the bathrooms shared?
- Are certain items not allowed in dorm rooms? (hot plates, candles, etc.)
2. Dining options
Many colleges have evolved from the days of having just one or two dining halls. Some even have restaurants or coffee shops right on campus. As you’re touring, check out the cafeterias and ask about menus and other dining options. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover you can get your Starbucks fix within walking distance from your dorm.
Typically, you’ll see some classrooms, lecture halls, and labs on your campus tour. Be mindful of the size of each, lighting, furniture, and temperature. Also, look at the electrical outlets—chances are you might need to plug in your laptop and other students will as well.
You’ll want to stop at the library on your college tour because you’ll likely be spending a lot of time there as a student. Take a walk around and view the types of resource materials available. Test out the furniture to see if it’s comfortable and a good place to study. Pay attention to the noise level and the number of electrical outlets, and consider using one of the computers to get a sense of how they work.
5. Community spaces
Most colleges have several indoor and outdoor community spaces for students to meet up. During your tour, take note of the community spaces. Are they configured well? Do they have comfortable furniture? What entertainment features are available? Thinking about these questions will help you better picture where you’ll socialize with friends on campus.
6. Health and wellness centers
Make sure to stop by the fitness center and other health and wellness centers on campus. While you’ll definitely want to see all the gym equipment, you’ll also want to know where to go if you’re sick or looking for counseling. Talk to your tour guide about available resources, and don’t be shy about asking questions. Taking care of your health and wellness will be a priority when you’re away from home.
During a college visit, you should be sure to stop by the bookstore. Check out their selection of books and other products on the shelves. If you’re at your dream school, you could also stock up on some fun gear while you’re there.
8. Campus safety features
While you’re visiting colleges, take note of the campus safety features. Knowing which safety features are available can help protect you on campus. Potential questions to ask and things to consider:
- Where is the campus police station located?
- Are there emergency phones available?
- What’s the lighting like if you’re walking at night?
- Are walking paths visible and clear?
Some colleges don’t let first-year students have cars on campus, but others do. If you’d like to bring your car to college, make sure you ask about their policies. Also, you’ll want to know about the parking situation, especially if you’re commuting to school. How many lots are available? Is there a place to park near your dorm? Are there particular lots designated for first-year students?
What to bring to your college visit
Now that you know what to look for in a college visit, it’s also important to know what to bring. You’ll want to write down a few questions to ask before you go. Pack a notebook and a few pens (in case one gets lost or runs out of ink). You’ll also want to bring a water bottle and wear comfortable shoes because you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking. And don’t forget your parents or guardians —they’ll want to see where you might be living, too!